Contractor Newsletter - June 2020

Contractor Spotlight: Ralph Topo, Topo Construction

Why in the world would you use Sonoma County’s Property Improvement Financing?

That is a question I asked myself and Terri Somers, who works at the ESD office in Santa Rosa. Terri’s response was “Why wouldn’t you? We offer Participating Contractors free marketing materials, access to our free Tool Lending Library, we give your property owners an easy way to finance projects that allows them the ability to keep their cash on hand for “hard times”. “We’re nice and we’re easy to work with, and as soon as your customer requests funding – they get their money in a week so you get paid sooner.” So I signed up and was off and running with my new status as a Participating Contractor.

I have been in business since 1983 here in Sonoma County. I have seen a recession, high material costs, lack of skilled employees, projects that people want to piece out over time, but I have also met incredible individuals and enjoyed the success of my efforts. So again, why would I change my approach to business? Was Terri correct that my business would increase and my projects would be larger? 

She was spot on. I’m getting calls off the “Find A Contractor” tab of ESD website, I’m able to bid larger projects because they qualify for SCEIP funding and I can suggest additional improvements which are increasing my referrals. The ESD staff is so easy to work with my customers enjoy the process and they trust the process because it’s offered through a County Agency.

Now I show up to bid a potential job with free marketing materials, I can tell them about the Financing Program (plus it’s on the back of the marketing material) I get paid quickly and I’ve become that guy that asks:

Why don’t you use Sonoma County’s Property Improvement Financing? It’s financially easy to complete the entire project, you get to immediately benefit from the improvement, your home retains its value better and you don’t even feel the impact to your pocketbook – because it’s on your tax bill.

Fire Season is upon us… Are your clients prepared?

We have been financing energy and water improvements for over 11 years. Did you know that the program was recently expanded to include wildfire safety improvements? In addition to energy measures, property owners in Sonoma county can access funding for things like Class A roofing, ember-resistant siding, windows, and much more. Contact our office today to request free marketing materials on how your clients can make their home or business more resilient. 

Resources for Contractors: Free Tool Lending Library

The County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division’s Tool Lending Library program HERS Diagnostic Testing equipment at no cost to qualified Contractors, HERS Raters and Energy Professionals in Sonoma County. These free resources allow contractors the opportunity to understand how to test their own systems to optimize installation quality and system performance and to set their projects up for success.

For more information about the County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division Tool Lending Library program visit: http://WWW.SONOMACOUNTYENERGY.ORG/TLL

Tool Lending Library Accepting Reservations for Curbside Pick UP/Drop Off – Beginning June 22, 2020

Beginning on Monday, June 22, 2020, Tool Lending Library Staff will begin accepting new tool loan reservations. COVID-19 Update: For the health and safety of our staff and our borrowers, the County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Office is currently not open to the public at this time. Tool pick up and drop off will be available through prescheduled curbside pick-up. Tool requests must be submitted by email a minimum of two full business days prior to the requested pick up date. Borrowers must wear a mask and respect social distancing protocols at all times during pick up and drop off.

New Addition to the TLL – ACIN Flow Finder mk2 Powered Flow Hood

The FlowFinder®mk2 is designed for accurate air flow measurements to balance and commission mechanical ventilation systems. It is light and small and can measure kitchen exhaust, HRV flows in tight places. The FlowFinder®mk2 has a full color touch screen with an easy interface to set up your measurement and storage options and includes 16" x 16" x 18" clear flow hood. Measurement data can be stored together with an identifier to a Micro SD memory card. The data is available in CSV format.

Title 24 Notes: Instrument has been certified to California Energy Commission (CEC) for use to verify ventilation system airflow and Forced Air Systems under Title 24, Part 6 section 100.0(h) and Residential Appendices Section RA3.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

BayREN Online Trainings

Keep up-to-date on what the inspectors are looking for…The BayREN Codes & Standards Program offers online short course trainings that engage building department staff and the building professionals they serve to increase understanding of developments in the Energy Code and promote best practices for compliance and enforcement. For more information and to register:

  • Residential Zero Net Energy for New Construction
    Wednesday, 6/17/2020 10:00-11:45 am

  • Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Registry
    Tuesday, 6/23/2020 8:00-9:15 am

  • Heat Pump Water Heaters
    Thursday, 6/25/2020 3:00-4:15 pm

Sonoma Clean Power No-Cost Online Training

This class provides an overview for homeowners and building professionals who are interested in fuel-switching and retrofitting homes for improved resiliency in the face of fire, smoke, and power outages. Learn about how home performance retrofits and transitioning away from natural gas can make the homes we live in healthier, safer, and more resilient, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving thermal comfort and indoor air quality. We will cover enclosure upgrade strategies – air sealing, insulation, and window replacements – along with lighting and appliance selection guidance. We will also discuss the implications, benefits, and challenges of electrification, plus project phasing and costs.

Energy and Sustainability Division No-Cost Online Training

The target audience is building department staff, but information is also very valuable for contractors and building industry professionals.

Instructor: Amie Brousseau is an Energy Commission Specialist in the California Energy Commission’s Outreach and Education Unit.

Course Topics
This course will provide an overview of the 2019 Energy Code insulation requirements for newly constructed buildings, as well as additions and alterations to existing buildings. Topics will include mandatory and prescriptive requirements, air leakage, quality insulation installation, U-factor efficiency requirements, and Energy Code resources. 

This training is presented by the County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division in partnership with the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) and the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA).

Not a Participating Contractor…

In addition to great content, participating contractors have access to training, marketing materials and website listing at no-cost. To learn how you can take advantage of these benefits contact our office at (707) 565-6470 or download the Contractor Standards and Guidelines.

Contact Information

Jane Elias

Division Manager

Energy and Sustainability Division

General Services Department

Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
La Plaza A
2300 County Center Drive
Suite A105
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.46242, -122.725426